Your baby's first years
Once your baby's born, their rapid development will continue to amaze and surprise you each and every day.
Although Breastfeeding Cafés are not available during the Coronavirus outbreak you can still access local advice and support and contact the Infant Feeding Team via the links included on the County Durham Infant Feeding on Facebook. You can also find breastfeeding information on the Baby Buddy website. Government guidance for pregnancy and Coronavirus can be found at Gov.uk: Coronavirus infection and pregnancy.
Although Breastfeeding Cafés are not available during the Coronavirus outbreak you can still access local advice and support and contact the Infant Feeding Team via the links included on the County Durham Infant Feeding on Facebook.
You can also find breastfeeding information on the Baby Buddy website.
Government guidance for pregnancy and Coronavirus can be found at Gov.uk: Coronavirus infection and pregnancy.
Nutrition and physical activity
Weaning starts at about six months. Babies should not be given sugary or salty foods; honey should not be given before the age of 1 year.
- Find out more about weaning: Your baby's first solid foods
- Learn about the different types of drinks and what cups to use: Drinks and cups for babies and toddlers
Babies should be registered with the dentist as soon as first teeth appear and regular visits should be encouraged. It is important to start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they appear.
- Find out more, and watch a video, about looking after your baby's teeth: Looking after your baby's teeth
- Kids' teeth Q&A includes tips for parents on the top causes of tooth decay in children - and how to avoid them.
- Caring for teeth - children's teeth
Healthy Start vouchers
Healthy Start is a government offer where you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.
Who qualifies for them
- pregnant women
- parents with children under four years old
- parents on benefits
Find out more at Healthy Start: do I qualify?
What I could get
- a weekly £3.10 voucher
- two weekly £3.10 vouchers (children under one year old)
- vitamin coupons (if you receive Healthy Start food vouchers)
Find out more at Healthy Start: what do I get? You will also find a postcode search for companies in you area that accept the vouchers.
How can you apply
Find out how to apply at Healthy Start: how to apply.
Safety (unintentional injury)
Suffocation, choking and falls in and around the home are a leading cause of preventable death in the under fives.
Ready to learn - speech and language development
Babies' speaking and listening skills are blossoming long before they utter their first word. From the moment babies are born, they are ready and wanting to communicate. Humans are pre-wired to be interested in faces and voices. Babies recognise their mother's voice from the womb and will even recognise her face by the end of their first day.
New born babies can copy the facial expressions of another person, like poking their tongue out or opening their mouth. This turn-taking is where conversations begin. Encouraging early communication is the most important thing parents can do to give their child's language the best possible beginning. You don't need to be an expert to help your child develop good communication skills. All you need is a listening ear and the willingness to chat to your child whenever you can. When you talk, listen and respond to them you are helping them develop.
- Best beginnings: talking, singing and playing with your baby
- Words for Life - Baby to 3 Milestones
- National Literacy Trust - Tips for talking to your baby and young child
The 2 to 2.5 year review provides an opportunity to discuss and promote the child's health and development at home, in clinic or childcare setting. If your child does not develop as expected they could be offered more support
Some two year olds in England are entitled to free, part-time early learning, care and development. All three and four year olds in England are entitled to free, part-time early learning, care and development.
- See our Nursery and pre-school education page for more information.